Xioami? Their update schedule is once every 90 days even for their latest Mi11 ultra so I doubt they are timely with patches
Sony too for that matter
Pixel and Samsung Flagships are the only ones which consistently deliver with patches
Where is the customizations?
I thought Zenfone 8 is very close to original android.
Zen ui is aesthetically stock but there are a lot of extra additions
Most features are kept in the advanced menu of settings then there's all the custom Asus power mode profiles (high performance,custom,dynamic etc), scheduled charging/slow charging,audiowizard,game genie etc
If you think about it zen ui underneath the stock ui has a lot of stuff that stock android doesn't have (features+extra customisations)
I'd say that's it's selling point "Stock look,no bloat,extra features/customisations"
It's among the rare ui's which allows custom system wide fonts afaik all you need to do is install a individual font or XDA powerfonts and it'll show up in display>font style
You can discuss, argue this point re Asus and their security patch implementation program until the cows come home, but it is not going to help . Asus are and have always been slow in implementing updates allbeit android updates or security patches. Anyone buying a new Asus phone can find this fact all over the internet, you just need to research the phone before buying it 'caveat emptor'
Personally before spending$1000 aud I like to GOOGLE the hell out of what I'm spending a grand on . Having said that it's hard to complain about slow updates, even though I do from time to time. You either love Asus phones and if so ,cop it sweet, or you hate them then I suggest you sell it on and buy some other brand BUT before buying a different brand do your research!
It's hard to find an android phone that supports both android Auto and Miracast. They are the two factors that will keep me coming back to Asus zenfones